Live Review: Hong Kong Dong/the Poneymen, Le Hangar, Liege 15.04.2016

Le Hangar gigs are always an enjoyable affair. The Leffe prices are the best in town and there’s a large open fire in the centre of the room full of crackling logs, giving a cosy campfire ambience, (you still have to go outside to smoke though!).

Tonight’s show is free, as part of a larger cultural event, so again everyone’s a winner baby.

Things kick off with The Poneymen; a four piece (tonight only it transpires, as their singer has had a nasty accident with some boiling liquid, meaning the gig will be all instrumental). That aside, what really sets these boys apart is they’re all wearing horses’ heads. I kid you not. It’s like Mr Ed in a suit playing lead guitar, with the pantomime horse from Rentaghost on rhythm. They play a Tarrantino-esque kind of surf gallop (sorry!), and the overall effect is quite hypnotic and very entertaining. You could accuse them of being a one-trick pony (boof!) but they are minus their singer, so I look forward to seeing them again when she recovers…and at least no-one can now accuse Liège of being a one-horse town (eek!) They get the place nicely warmed up and so soon we’re chomping at the bit (ouch!) for more entertainment, which comes in the form of Hong Kong Dong.

Hailing from Ghent, Hong Kong Dong are a brother-sister duo (Sarah and Boris), backed by a rock-solid drummer and a versatile guitarist, whose effects rack looks like a cross between R2-D2 and a welsh dresser. It’s a clean, modern electro-pop sound they produce, that’s equal measures kitsch, dancey and catchy-pop.

Guitarist Geoffrey Burton has worked with several big guns in the Belgian music scene (Arno, Alain Bashung) as well as Iggy Pop, and his contribution to the sound is considerable and impressive. He throws in Daft Punk-like spiky synthesized riffs one moment, lush melodic shimmering chords the next. Squidgy synth basslines drive the sound along, Boris is engagingly camp, and Sarah is charming. Not all songs are instantly memorable, but tracks like ‘Postcard’ and ‘Growing Older’ hit home and demonstrate a pop-savvy that calls to mind Phoenix, Daft Punk and fellow Belgians, Great Mountain Fire.

Suffice to say, Hong Kong Dong are a slick proposition, expect to see them at a festival near you soon.





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Next Incoming: Arabian Nights: The Desolate One

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